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When I'm wondering about weather folklore and historical events this is the man I go to. With more than 50 years of statistical and observational research, he's the dude! When it comes to lunar cycles, woolly bear caterpillars, insects, bugs, and animals, he tracks them, records them, and establishes ties to weather patterns. He's a knowledgeable and interesting man. His name is Steve Gottschalk by way of Lowden, Iowa. I'm grateful to him for lending his unique perspective to the site. Steve's "wild" world of weather can be found regularly right

here on Take it away Steve!


On September 21, 1894, a late season outbreak of violent tornadoes swept across northern Iowa. The storm system would transverse more than 200 miles across 9 counties before weakening.

The first destruction occurred just after 5 p.m. in the rural areas near LeMars. Every township from that point on towards Cresco, in Howard County would receive damage. Fortunately, no large towns were in the path of the storms but there were some near misses.

At a farm near Emmetsburg, 1500 bushels of threshed oats were entirely carried away. At a farm in Kossuth County, only the remains of a willow hedge were left to testify that the place was ever inhabited. The house was scattered for half a mile through the cornfield. The farmer, his wife and baby were carried more than 100 yards away through the willow hedge. None were hurt with the baby found nearby on a piece of the roof, crying.

Near St. Ansgar in Mitchell County, a large iron bridge over the Cedar River was picked up and left wrecked, bottom-side up, 75 to 100 feet upstream.

The outbreak occurred from 5:30 to 9:15 p.m. There were at least 8 tornadoes ranging in intensity from F2 to F5. The tracks ranged from 13 to 60 miles long with the largest tornado being 1500 yards wide. Several dozen farms were damaged with some being completely swept away. At least 53 persons were killed and more than 200 injured.


There is an old weather folklore saying that there is usually a storm around the time of the Fall Equinox. My records has shown over the years that rain, wind or some kind of unsettled weather occurs within a day or two of this date about 80% of the time. Fall arrives on the 22nd.


With a little research I have found that you are more likely to have a 32 degree temperature in the month of September during a La Nina (60%) than in an El Nino (40%) of the time. There is a 60% chance of having a La Nina this fall.


Over my 60 years of records I have recorded measurable snowfall in October only 7 times. Of those years, 57% of the time there was snow snow when the ENSO (southern oscillation) index was on the positive side like it was last year.

This year the index is currently on the negative side. I have never had snow in October, 2 years in a row. Last year Lowden had 11.0" of snow, a record.

That's it for this edition. On the "wild" side of weather I'm Steve Gottschalk.

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